The emergence and resurgence of Nationalism around the world.
This lurch to the "right" may seem natural as we all seek to protect what we believe is rightfully ours during a time of economic turbulence. However, it started long before the credit crunch and all those things that have left people worried about their own security into the future. The rise of right wing nationalist political parties in Europe and England is nearly a decade old now while the credit crunch is only in its second year!
I find even more worrying the attempt to deny these right wing a voice!
The clamour that greeted the BBC allowing the BNP a platform, was shocking to say the least. The attempt by the mainstream political parties to suppress those who do not espouse the same broader ideals is no different from the Chinese suppression of freedom of thought and speech at Tiananmen Square.
Growing up in South Africa during the Apartheid era made one very aware that suppression of freedom of speech is the very cornerstone of the totalitarian state. Within any country there must always be a healthy debate that allows all points of view to be scrutinised. The BNP have as much right to be heard as any other political party. The fact that we do not like their views should never be a reason to deny their right to freedom of expression. Once we do that we have become a totalitarian society.
The rise of right wing political parties throughout Europe is a symptom of the failure of the mainstream political parties to address the fears and concerns of the electorate. The duty of any government is first and foremost to the people of the country, not just the voters who voted for them, but, all the people. Instead of trying to deny the BNP a public platform we should be looking at why they and similar parties throughout Europe are gaining popularity.
From my perception I see that the BNP have gained a foothold amongst the working class and poorer people. These have traditionally been supporters of the Labour or Socialist movements. Why have Labour been loosing ground in their traditional constituency?
Ahh the lurch to the right!
Labour, or should I say "New Labour", is a party of what we now call centre right. Right being a leaning towards capitalism and left a leaning towards socialism. The difference between them and the Conservatives is not all that distinct. Possibly the only distinction lies in their attitudes rather than their principles.
Globalisation, the catch word of the last 20 years or so, has had a lot of unintended consequences. While there can be no doubt that Globalisation is good in the long term, there is going to be a lot of pain before the ultimate destination is reached. That pain is being felt by the working classes rather than the middle class who are experiencing the benefits of cheaper goods in that area of discretionary expenditure generally not available to the out of work or poorer groups in society. As manufacturing businesses migrate to areas where the cost of operation is lower so the pressure on employment increases. When coupled with migration, the competition for jobs, particularly in the less skilled areas, becomes more intense and wage rates tend to be suppressed. Ultimately this trend must continue until wage rates have equalised around the world! The belief that the newer technologies in areas like ICT would expand to absorbe the slack created by the closing down of manufacturing has proved just as fallacious as these roles are increasingly taken up by the low cost countries like India and China.
This has naturally created a climate where the migrant is seen as a threat to the security and well being of the poorer groupings in society, making it a ripe breeding ground for right wing Nationalism. In the UK we would look at both UKIP and the BNP as expressions of this growth of Nationalism.
Thus far we have seen both major political parties attempt to woo the right … Gordon Brown with his British jobs for British people speech … and the carping by the Conservatives on the need for a referendum on Europe. Both parties attempt persuade the electorate that they will get tougher on migration with points based systems and the like.
This general step to the right by all major political parties in the UK is gathering momentum, and no doubt throughout Europe the same is happening.
While we may think we are better off going our own way … Gordon Brown, with complicity from Alan Greenspan in the USA, has shown us, that our belief, that we are cleverer than history and could follow reckless economic policies with gay abandon, was based on a fallacy … for which we have asked the world to pay. Europe on the other hand while sticking to tried economic policies did not reach the heady heights nor have they fallen to the same depths … their social safety nets have proved sound.